Letters to the Editor

Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 10 | Posted Mar. 23, 2011

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Suburban Sprawl

Regarding Daniel Denvirs recent cover story about racial segregation in the Philly region:

Your idea that “It all starts with housing ... We would have success with a lot of these problems if we had people of mixed-incomes living together.” OK. Between my wife and I, we work 3 jobs in one household so we can live as far as possible from Section 8 housing. Keep your brave new world, liberal views to yourself. I don’t want section 8 anywhere near me. I don’t want anyone receiving any type of government assistance living near me. Do you need to hear it again? I don’t care what their excuses or reasons are to receive that money. Nobody puts a gun to their heads and says “take this money or your dead.” I pay THOUSANDS of dollars a year in Federal, State, City and property taxes to keep it away from my neighborhood. I’ll say it. They don’t deserve to live in or near my neighborhood. When are we going to stop this “free money” mentality? I don’t care how horrible their neighborhood is. You made your bed now sleep in it. Remember, neighborhoods are made up of those that live in them.

STEVE ARLO
via email

As someone who lives in a multi-cultural neighborhood that is on the edge of Center City I can speak to these issues. Most often when whites are fleeing neighborhoods it is because their neighborhood is physically deteriorating, not because a new non-Caucasian neighbor moved in. They move not because they are racist; they move simply because many people of lower socioeconomic status and lower income simply do not have house pride. I don’t care if my neighbors are white, Latino, black or Asian, when your house looks like its ready to collapse, repair it. People with house and neighborhood pride want their neighbors to plant flowers, plant trees, paint the front door when it needs painting. They want their neighbors to pick-up the trash that has been accumulating in front of their house. All of these elements effect quality of life and assist in white flight, its not as simple as calling people racist. I grew up in the lower Northeast in the early 80s, it was a very nice neighborhood. I cant believe the neighborhood now. Not because of the people of different races I see when driving through, but the condition of the houses, the yards and the lack of pride in the neighborhood. The vision of having racially and economic diverse neighborhoods will only come to life when the people from different walks of life take pride in where they live. Its not always racism.

JOHN McLAUGHLIN
via email

I’m not native to Philadelphia, however when I moved here I noticed the clear lines that divide this city. Segregation is something unspoken, but understood by those that live here. I’ve lived in a lot of places in the U.S. and abroad and I honestly can say this is the most racist place I have ever lived in. I cant just say one race or the other, everyone just hates each other except during baseball and football season. In today’s society, everything that has been sacrificed by all of our ancestors, in this city, is in vein. White people just think their better than blacks and its just not true, we all are human beings, some more humane than others. As we all get old and decrepit we realize that. Don’t waste time on ignorance, its such a waste of time.

DENISE EL
via philadelphiaweekly.com

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COMMENTS

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1. Anonymous said... on Mar 23, 2011 at 10:34AM

“John makes a great point. I moved recently from college in VA back to Philly (I grew up in the burbs), and it's not a matter of racism or anything of that nature. It's a matter of pride in one's neighborhood and safety. I currently live on the fringes of No. Libs./Fishtown. I see the people in my area take care of their properties and the streets around them, but you don't have to go far to see dilapidated terribly cared for properties. And to be frank, I don't want to be anywhere near them. Period. If you can't have the pride in your home to take basic care of it, then stay away. It's not race, it's pride.”

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2. brendancalling said... on Mar 25, 2011 at 01:25PM

“"I don’t want anyone receiving any type of government assistance living near me. Do you need to hear it again? I don’t care what their excuses or reasons are to receive that money."

Attention doctors, lawyers, and anyone with an advanced degree: if you got a student loan from the government to go to college, Steve Arlo doesn't want you in his neighborhood.

Attention old people on social security, medicare, or medicaid: if you live near Steve Arlo's neighborhood, please move. You are not wanted.

Attention anyone who has an FHA mortgage: please leave Steve Arlo's neighborhood, which apparently he owns.”

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3. the Brotha said... on Mar 28, 2011 at 12:18AM

“I always find it entertaining to read the thoughts of individuals like you all, always thinking you have the rights to say who should live near or where you live, very funny i think. It definately is not a race thing. Just think about what you are saying that someone of less fortune should not live next to you because of the governments help or assistance hey you morons do you think your quality of life will matter when you are buried next to someone of less fortune some of you people are just ignorant. For you morons that keep running to get away keep in mind their will always be someone you feel is less fortunate living beside you. Your one paycheck away from poverty as well thats why you work three jobs. You group of suicidal people when shit dont go your way. To be honest just shut up and try and be respectful to yourself and others. For the record i pay taxes just like you and i make a very descent wage, Peace be unto you Love all”

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4. mblue said... on Mar 28, 2011 at 05:11AM

“Denise - How can you say that it's not one race or another on one hand, and then turn around and blame white people? Pardon me, dear, your ignorance is showing. I wonder if what you are seeing here in Philly is your own racist reflection shining back at you? Thank you, John, for pointing out that the race card is not always the right one to play. I've lived all over this city and had few problems in any neighborhood. It's not about race; trash comes in all colors.”

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5. busbus said... on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:16AM

“Philadelphia has been my home since birth. I am familiar with the "red-lining" that once was the way that neighborhoods were kept segregated. I have watched neighborhoods deteriorate because of absentee landlords. Far too many of these landlords converted single-family homes into multi-family homes and did little, if anything, with the maintenance and upkeep of the property. I am familiar with the low down payments on houses to encourage low-income people to purchase. Far too many of these properties were in serious need of repairs, repairs that were kept hidden by the sellers and unscrupulous inspectors. I have witnessed neighborhoods change "over night" after one minority moved in. The "flight" had nothing to do with the new neighbors not keeping up with neighborhood pride. A great deal of city services have been "red-lined" over the years - trash collection, abandon car removals, license and inspection, and street lighting to identify a few.

It's more than income and pride!”

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6. Anonymous said... on Mar 30, 2011 at 09:07AM

“So I assume Steve Arlo never went to public school, never got a loan for college, never drove on public highways, and doesn't plan on collecting Social Security when he gets old, nor using Medicare either.

I hope this idiot loses his job and needs food stamps. Will his neighbors then kick him out of his neighborhood? I'm glad he lives in the suburbs and not anywhere near my awesome, racially and socio-economically integrated city neighborhood.”

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7. adam said... on Mar 30, 2011 at 09:10AM

“Attention library users, if you live near Steve Arlo's neighborhood, please move. You are not wanted.

Attention parents of students in public schools; Steve Arlo hates you, please get out.

Attention consumers of corn based food and drink, please get your sticky fingers out of Steve Arlo's hood

Attention drivers of cars and purchasers of petro based products, you are a blight on Steve Arlo's little piece of heaven.

(i could go all day, but my therapist tells me it isn't productive)

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8. Anonymous said... on Apr 3, 2011 at 05:23PM

“I hope Steve Arlo loses his jobs, and winds up on the street. He will, of course, starve to death after a few days, as he will refuse any offers of kindness or generosity from anyone.”

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9. Catherine said... on Apr 4, 2011 at 03:36PM

“Does anyone think about the beautiful areas used as drug havens and open sex stops? Maybe the blacks don't bring it...but it seems to me they are not really stopping it either...how about giving out birth control...would they take it .... I don't think so...Why cause they can keep on the dole for $$..why work when the govt. will hand it to you! Look out Steve Arlo... they are coming to your town.....hahahaha”

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10. Anonymous said... on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:13AM

“Philadelphia is the 8th most segregated city in America:
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/03/29/most_segregated_cities/”

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